Better technology is one reason why computing is again becoming more distributed. Devices at the edge, from smartphones to machinery on the shop floor, are becoming more intelligent. Equipped with powerful processors, they can now tackle computing problems that a few years ago needed a fully loaded server. As for software, its increased flexibility means it can function well on the edge. Many applications are now “virtualised”, meaning they exist separately from any specific type of hardware: code can thus be packaged in digital “containers” and easily moved around within data centres—and, increasingly, closer to the edge.
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